This past Saturday I completed my Spartan Trifecta. For those who may be new to me or to Spartan Races, let me explain. The Spartan Trifecta is made up of three races: The Sprint (3-5 miles), The Super (8-10 miles) and The Beast (12+ miles). To earn a “Trifecta” you complete all three races in one calendar year. I also did the Washington, D.C. (aka, Maryland) Sprint and the Asheville Super.
When I sign up for races I look at dates. Because I have two kids who play sports, my weekends are often taken up with their events. I try to cram my races into the summer and that gives me less options for racing. I also try to pick ones that are closest to me so that I can save money. When I go to Asheville, I stay with my brother. I can drive to and from Maryland. For West Virginia, I stayed at an AirBnB for the first time and it was perfect. After I signed up for West Virginia, I doubted myself. I knew it was going to be a hard race as it is classified as the North American Eastern Regional Championship. Spartan Race has a Global Championship and certain races are classified as “regional” or “national” championship. Winners gain entry into the Global Championship.
When I run these races I am not looking to win. That’s clear I think. What makes Spartan Races really cool to me is that we are running the exact same courses as the elite races. They cover the same mileage and obstacles (they just can’t have help like us open races) as we do – just much faster. This Beast took me 7.5 hours. Yes, that is a LONG time. I totally lost track of time. I knew, after I finished 3 miles, it had been only 1.25 hours. I had completed the first 3 fairly quickly and was pleased. I thought this meant I was going to finish in about 5 hrs. I was wrong. I was doing good running where I could – downhill and flat areas- there just weren’t that many. Much of this race included elevation: 4490 ft of elevation change over 13.5 miles. Some of that elevation was at a grade of 42%. You can reference this graphic to see how steep some of the elevation was. Fun fact: I bear crawled a bunch of it – way easier.
I felt like I accomplished more obstacles than previous races. I’m able to scale most of the walls on my own and did receive just a small amount of help on a few others. I still cannot do the obstacles that require good grip strength – hanging, monkey bars, etc. This is a big frustration of mine and I really want to change this over the next year. But as a result of getting better at the other obstacles means I came away with very few bruises. I think I even avoided poison ivy at this race and that’s a big deal for me. I also have realized I can carry heavy things. The log, bucket, and sandbag carries were all pretty easy for me. I did set the bucket down twice but it was at the end and I was tired. I also had to swim during this race and I found that super fun.
The place where the race was held: The Summit Reserve in Bechtel, West Virginia was beautiful. It is a Boy Scout Camp and one of the nicest “camps” I have ever seen. The views at the top of the mountains were wonderful. I loved seeing the peaks – it helped me feel accomplished. At one point, at the highest point, there was a dining room. It had glass windows all the way around and I could only imagine how amazing it would be to eat dinner in there during a beautiful sunset.
Overall, the race was about 15 miles (including obstacles). I am amazed at myself for finishing it. I wasn’t fully prepared for it. I hadn’t trained hard enough and felt it. I thought I had based on what people said about last year’s race, but, in good Spartan fashion, they made it harder. As I hiked, walked, and felt the pain, I told myself, “I never want to do this again.” But now, as I look back… I kind of want to…. I’m ridiculous.
If you haven’t ever done a Spartan Race and want a way to push yourself or have a goal I fully recommend trying a race. You can do the Sprint. I promise. Now that my Trifecta is done… I will relax a bit, probably gain a few more pounds, and then start in on my training. I am going to visit a couple of OCR gyms in the area and train on the grip obstacles. And maybe, in 2019, I’ll complete the Sprint and do it all without burpees!!